Friday, 19 August 2011

Which pitch?

If I go back to FBOW too soon, I might work Jenny’s POV to death – as I did Martin’s. I will redraft it (I couldn’t stay away even if I wanted to!); I just need to let it rest so I can see it as a whole and not think every word sucks.

On another front, I’ve spent the last few weeks working on my novel and am quite happy with the direction it’s taking.

‘So, what is this story about?’ I hear you say.

Well, funny you should ask. I’ve come up with the below pitches:

1. A coming of age story following Deimos and his twin sister, Phobos – the only teenagers living in a mining outpost on the moon.

2. Deimos and his twin sister, Phobos, are tired of their parents arguing, the stereo types forced on them, and being the only teenagers living in a mining outpost on the moon.

3. Deimos and his twin sister, Phobos, struggle with being the only teenagers living in a mining outpost on the moon, having the mission to colonise Mars depend on them, and learning the person they thought their father, isn’t.

4. Earth is overpopulated: its resources almost exhausted – leaving little room for the law-abiding citizens, let alone those in prison. A starship of convicts is leaving to colonise Mars, but will Deimos and his twin sister, Phobos, both be onboard? And, will they be on the same side of the law?

Which do you prefer?

If you can see an area that needs improving, or an angle I haven’t thought of, please share your thoughts. Please keep in mind these are not intended to be blurbs describing the entire plot; but 'pitches'. The idea is to be able to sell the novel to a publisher if I manage to corner one for only a few seconds.

I’d love to hear what you think or have my attempts put to shame :)

Thanks for visiting,

Sunday, 14 August 2011

There are always two sides to a story...

I’m still feeling too close to For Better or Worse. I know it needs more action and immediacy, but the straps prevent him from acting and the tube down his throat prevents him from talking. I’ve really got myself in a pickle this time...

I have some shorter sentences in mind. Mostly fragments. But the words are turning to mush before my eyes. So, I thought I’d post his wife’s side of the story. This is what I came up with:

Looking through the observation window, Jenny listened to the MRI machine drone on as it scanned her unconscious husband. Sobbing, she reflected on the car accident only hours earlier and how much she loved him despite their short marriage. He’d be a great father to the child in her belly, which kicked in agreement.
His limp body was only halfway into the machine when it stopped. Doctors and nurses cautiously filed through the room’s only door, all but ignoring her.
She stopped one. ‘What’s wrong?’
The man clutched his clipboard closer to his chest, looked at her blankly for a split second or two before saying, ‘He’s not human!’

Thoughts, feedback, insults: I’ll accept them all!

Sunday, 7 August 2011

The second draft

I’ve allowed For Better or Worse to rest for over a week, and feel quite good about it. In the second draft I ask myself if any words can be swapped in, or out, to make the story more immediate and evocative. This is what I came up with:

Martin regained consciousness while entering the MRI machine with a dull feeling his body was broken in many places. He tried to object to the scan but a tube down his throat turned his words into a series of gurgles. When he strained against the straps holding him firmly in place, a nurse jabbed him in the leg with a syringe. As his vision blurred, he saw his wife peering through the observation window - oblivious to the chaos about to ensue - and realised he could do nothing to prevent the examination from exposing his unearthly origin.

Even though the story has less then than 100 words, I believe it contains the most important elements of a short story. It has:
-         a definite beginning, middle and end,
-         a main character faced with a life changing conflict,
-         something preventing Martin from achieving his goal of escaping with his secret intact (the straps, tube and sedative),
-         increasing pace and tension that leads to a rewarding climax,
-         a distinct and appropriate point of view told via a narrator who arrives late and leaves early.

Although, as usual, I’m not entirely happy with the voice. It feels a little stilted and long winded. This is apparently the hardest skill for writers to learn, and takes years of practice… I’m tackling this head on by studying hard, reading with sentence patterns and narrative voice in mind, and writing - a lot. My confidence is increasing with each story I write and by taking in all feedback.

Once again, I’d love to know what you think of the changes, both for and against, and hope you check back for the next draft.